Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Google's Coming Game Store

We all know how popular FarmVille and Bejeweled are on Facebook, and they're big money-makers as well. So it only makes sense for everyone to want in on the action. But Google isn't just pushing out flash-based internet games, oh no, Google has much bigger plans.

This morning at the Google I/O 2010 event, the company seemingly destined to become the real life equivalent to Skynet made a major announcement concerning their incredibly popular Chrome browser. Apparently Google is opening up a 'web apps store' for the Chrome browser which will appear on your new tabs page. Apps you buy in this tore will have their icons pinned to the new tab page for easy access to them.

This is big news for a couple reasons. Firstly, it gives web app developers an easy way to make some money for their effort, mainly because of the ease of purchasing this store seems to provide. But the main reason this announcement is such great news, is not only is the store offering flash-based games, and PC games like Bejeweled 2, but it will allow the browser to run 3D games the same way as they would on your desktop via HTML5's ability to access and take advantage of your computer's hardware. That means your browser games will be able to render themselves using that top-of-the line GPU you just installed. What this does for Google, is gives them the potential to become a provider of not only popular web apps like TweetDeck and Pandora, but also games like FIFA World Cup 2010 and Lego Star Wars.

A huge step up from the 2D or pseudo-3D games you're used to on Facebook, the Chrome web apps store could very well turn into the next Steam if Google does it right. It doesn't seem quite ready to launch just yet, but we could start seeing a lot more CPU/GPU-intensive games added to Google's Chrome web apps store lineup soon.

This step forward in the direction of gaming is definitely intentional by Google, as a way to give their upcoming Chrome OS a viable option for gaming. But only time will tell if it will come anywhere near close to the way games are currently played on a Windows desktop. I'm sure some more interesting announcements regarding this store will becoming soon, so I'll be waiting anxiously for more details about the gaming aspect of this potential Steam-competitor.